Luke Donald has matched triple major winner Padraig Harrington and completed a rare hat-trick of awards gongs.
The English star, 34, became only the second player since Harrington in 2008 to collect the Golf Writers Trophy as well as the PGA Tour and European Tour “Player of the Year” awards.
Delighted, Donald said: “Any award you win gives you a great amount of pleasure and for the Golf Writers to consider me as their player of the year means a lot, it really does.
“All the people in the running for the AGW award – Rory, Darren, the Solheim Cup team and the Walker Cup team – would have been worthy winners and therefore it is very gratifying to get the vote ahead of all of them. That means an awful lot to me.”
Top Scot Colin Montgomerie agreed that Donald deserved to pip US Open champ Rory McIlroy and Open winner Darren Clarke even though he didn’t win a major.
Monty said: “I am very sorry for Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy because their achievments were superb but Luke stands tall above all golfers this year.”
Donald won four times around the world and pocketed more than €10m in prize money as he became the first player officially to top of the money lists in both America and Europe.
In May he deposed Lee Westwood as world No 1 by beating him in a playoff at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
He also captured the WGC Accenture Matchplay, the Barclays Scottish Open and secured the US money title with a dramatic win in the final event of the year.
He went on to finish third at the Dubai World Championship to take the Race to Dubai title ahead of US Open champion McIlroy.
And even Claret Jug winner Clarke had to admit that the English world No 1 deserved to win the writers’ award.
Clarke said: “What Luke Donald has achieved this year is unbelievable. I’m full of admiration for him.”
World No 3 McIlroy also admitted that Donald was a worthy winner but insisted he’d be gunning for the Englishman’s world No 1 ranking next term.
McIlroy said: “That’s the sort of level of golf I’ll need to play to overtake him and try to get the No 1 spot.”
Despite that McIlroy paid tribute to Donald’s achievements this year, adding: “It has been an amazing year for me but as I said in Dubai, Luke deserves to be the No 1 in our game this year. It is very satisfying to be mentioned alongside Luke, Darren and the Solheim team by the Golf Writers.”
Ultra consistent Donald had 20 top-ten finishes this year but knows that questions will be asked about his ability until he wins a major.
Looking ahead to 2012, Donald said: “I think there will always be a little bit of an asterisk against my name until I win one, but I’ll be trying very hard to correct that.
“I would love to win one, obviously, and I’m jealous of all the other players that have one.”